Blue Flower

As we continue to catch up with what has been published in the "Firefighting" magazine this summer, we are coming to the July issue. If you remember, in June issue we started a sub-series on the tricks that can use to make searching small area layouts safer and more efficient. So, in the second article of this sub-series we are talking about the search team choreography.

By choreography we of course do not mean recording of the dance sequences as the dictionary definition of the term would suggest, but we do something similar that would be of use to the firefighters. Specifically, we outline specific recipes on how search team members should interact in pre-determined fashion in response to various events during the search, and how the roles within a team should be distributed up-front.

A well-prepared search team does not postpone figuring out who will do what till the last moment. In fact, trying to distribute the roles and agree upon the plan of action in zero visibility or simply under regular combat stress usually leads to confusion and delays at best, and sometimes it can even result in complete mission failure. This is exactly the reason why we want to have "scripts" written and committed to our "muscle memory" for all phases of the search.

More specifically, in this article we talk about the recipes of what needs to be done and what each team member should be doing during the following phases of the search:

  • Preparing for entry (including format for giving entry report over the radio)
  • Advancing into the layout
  • The moment of locating the victim
  • Packaging the victim
  • Returning with or without the victim

Another important topic that we discuss in this article is the "battle tongue". It is a list of distinctive and agreed-upon commands that we use to communicate with each other while searching. Teams that lack their own "battle tongue" tend to either not communicate at all (which often leads to lack of coordination or even team separation) or communicate in full sentences (which leads to waste of air and time, as well as troubles with understanding each other). To illustrate the usefulness of this concept further, we draw analogy of the battle tongue used by the fighter jet pilots when flying in group formations.

If you can't read Russian, you can find some of that information in the series of training videos on small area search that I have posted previously (part 1part 2, and part 3) in English.

However, if you do understand Russian, you can either download and save a copy of the article in PDF format or you can view it right here on this page.

Download a copy of the article in PDF format